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Tokyo Olympics: Women’s football – matchday one roundup

A roundup of all the action from the first day of the women’s football tournament

FOOTBALL-OLY-2020-2021-TOKYO-JPN-CAN Photo by ASANO IKKO/AFP via Getty Images

28 goals? In this economy? Here’s what you might have missed on matchday one of the Olympic football tournament.

Group E

Despite concerns around how well Great Britain would perform this summer, Hege Riise’s side got the ball rolling in Sapporo this morning, opening the tournament up with a comfortable win over Chile. Scoring 18 minutes into the first half and 28 minutes into the second, Ellen White’s brace was enough for a British side that boasted 22 shots at Christiane Endler’s goal but just four on target.

Great Britain v Chile: Women’s Football - Olympics: Day -2 Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

An early goal for Christine Sinclair (on her 300th cap) set Beverly Priestman’s team in good stead, the defensively resolute Canucks making the first half quite a stuffy affair, with neither side registering more than two shots. The second half opened up with the hosts drawing an early penalty following a foul by Stephanie Labbé on Mina Tanaka. Tanaka took the penalty herself but it was saved by Labbé. Canada failed to connect as a cohesive team as the game wore on, which then gave way to a late ball over the top from Yui Hasegawa that Mana Iwabuchi latched on to and finished well. Her first time strike proving enough to best the Canadians.

All in all, a bit of a dour day in Group E.

Group F

As a team that has only failed to reach the last four in just one of their seven appearances at the Olympic Games, Brazil got their bid for another medal match off to the perfect start with a clinical performance over China. Happy to cause problems against an inexperienced defence, Brazil took the lead just nine minutes in when Marta pounced on a loose ball after a scrap in the box. Debinha got the second when she tapped home after Peng Shimeng spilled Bia’s near-post effort. Despite a half hour spell of concerted pressure, the Steel Roses could only leave the woodwork shaking on four occasions before Seleção put the match to bed with late goals from Marta, Andressa Alves (from the spot) and Bia.

For a Dutch team ranked #4 in the world, who had reached the final of their last two major tournaments, starting their campaign against the 104th ranked nation in the world, Zambia, the goals barely let up. In a match of “don’t look now” defensive moments, Vivianne Miedema scored the first of the Netherlands’s TEN on a warm evening in Rifu. The star-striker would go on to net twice more before the half hour mark, and once again in the second half around a brace from Lieke Martens, and lone goals from Shanice van de Sanden, Jill Roord, Lineth Beerensteyn and Victoria Pelova. Despite their woes at the back, the match wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Copper Queens as talismanic captain, Barbra Banda claimed her own hat-trick (including a two-minute brace) on a bonkers first day.

Group G

On the front foot from the off, a Sweden team who’ve been guilty of not taking their chances seemed to be back in their bad habits against a defensively slack USA team until Stina Blackstenius beat her marker to the ball and reached Kosovare Asllani’s cross first. From there, there was no turning back for the Swedes who found a second after the breakthrough through Blackstenius again before Lina Hurtig put the gloss on with a header that left Alyssa Naeher beaten for a third time.

Australia v New Zealand: Women’s Football - Olympics: Day -2 Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Wasting little time in applying the pressure against their neighbours, Australia found their opening in Tokyo 20 minutes in when Tameka Yallop finished off a smooth passing move to take the lead in a game for the first time under new manager, Tony Gustavsson. One became two when Sam Kerr flicked a corner home at the near-post, to give Australia a comfortable half-time lead after a dominant 45 minutes. Improvements from New Zealand after the break left the match much more open with Erin Nayler’s tally of impressive saves keeping them in it. A late goal from debutant Gabi Rennie would ultimately be just a conciliation.